The Nazi concentration camp Dachau in Munich in WW2 -

Period: Second World War

Region: Germany

The Nazi concentration camp Dachau in Munich in WW2

The Dachau camp was a Nazi concentration camp and the first to open in Germany.
The first concentration camp of the Second World War was opened about twenty kilometers north of Munich, under the slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei” which the Germans launched in an attempt to deny responsibility, believing they did a favor to the detainees in Dachau. Hence, the Dachau camp was opened on the 22nd March 1933, by Heinrich Himmler in a festive atmosphere.
More than 200,000 people passed through the Dachau camp while a third was killed. The number of Serbs was estimated at around 3,000, and almost 600 Serbs were killed.
Allied forces advancing from the West (British and Americans) liberated it on April 29, 1945.
Today, a memorial complex was built on the site of the horrors, which testifies to Nazi atrocities. The clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church comes here and conducts the memorial services.
The Weimar Republic, founded in the city of Weimar in Germany after the emperor's escape, was constantly threatened by Nazi actions. The Nazis were members of The German National Socialist Workers' Party, headed by Adolf Hitler.
Adolph Hitler, the Nazi leader
Following the example of the Italian March on Rome, a Nazi assembly was held in Munich in 1923, and in November of the same year, Hitler tried to come to power in Bavaria. He was arrested in this action and sentenced to five years of prison but was released on parole after one year.
Germany had an economic situation (hyperinflation, unemployment, payments for war damages, etc.) that created great dissatisfaction among citizens. The Nazis used this for their own economic rise and in 1924 they started to break through to the top of Germany. In the elections of that year, they won 32 seats in the Reichstag (German National Assembly).
They became the largest party in 1932, and Hitler was appointed on January 30, 1933, to be the chancellor of the whole of Germany. Freedom of the press and speech, as well as civil freedom, were abolished very quickly. Jews, freedom-loving people, and communists were arrested and taken to concentration camps in Dachau and Oranienburg.
The secret state police were formed - the Gestapo- which closed clubs, bars, bookstores, banned and burned magazines and books. In short, they worked to eliminate everything contrary to the ideology of "Übermensch".
The Dachau camp was opened only two months after Hitler’s rise to power, on the site next to the town of Dachau, which is 20 km north of Munich, the largest city in the Bavarian province.
Hitler did not invent the idea for opening a death camp but inherited and gave it a creepier seal. From 1904 to 1908, the Germans killed 75,000 native Hererians in Africa and Namaqua on the territory of today's Namibia, which amounted to over 80% of the population of those areas.
The camp was opened on March 22, 1933, and was the first "regular" concentration camp founded by the coalition government of the National Socialists and the German National People's Party, which was dissolved on July 6, 1933.
There were 32 barracks in the camp, and four rooms with 200 inmates in each, while their number wаs constantly changing.
Heinrich Himmler, chief of police in Munich and later most trusted person of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, officially described this camp as "the first concentration camp for political prisoners ".
The camp in Dachau was conceived and organized, above all, as an institution that would help the Nazis deal with all their political opponents, certain undesirable individuals, and groups. In it, Rudolf Hess, later commander of Auschwitz, Johann Schwarzbecher, commander of the Ravensbrück camp, and Baranowski, commander of the Sachsenhausen camp were "learning" their criminal craft.
Communists were first sent to its wires and barracks, and then Jews, Roma people, Freemasons, priests of the Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches, Nazi dissidents, as well as many ordinary or so-called classic criminals.
After the annexation of Austria, the so-called Anschluss, and the occupation of the Czech Republic, opponents of Nazism from those countries were brought to the Dachau camp, and from all the other countries that found themselves under the Nazi control from the beginning of the Second World War.
Dachau had been working full steam ahead since day one. They worked in three shifts and the detainees were brought continuously, so more than 200,000 people of various nations passed through Dachau from about thirty occupied countries of Europe, including the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
German discipline and pedantry are somewhat spoiled by the fact that there is no accurate data on everyone who was killed because they were killed brutally and immediately, without wasting time, and human life was very often taken away in bursts, much faster than it could be noted.
Many detainees were forcibly taken to work in a BMW car factory in Munich.
The number of killed was more than 43,000, only of registered detainees. Although for certain objective reasons, the number of those who were brought to that camp has not been precisely determined to this day, it was estimated that from 1933 to 1945, between 230,000 and 260,000 people from 24 countries passed through it, including several thousand Serbs.
It was estimated that 25,613 prisoners died in the main camp alone, and at least another 10,000 in the surrounding camps. Many died of malnutrition and there were also suicides.
In inhumane conditions, diseases raged and people died from the infection, so in 1944, typhus took about 15,000 lives. About 70,000 inmates did not come out of the Dachau camp alive, finding death in its crematorium or numerous mass and individual tombs inside and outside of its wires.
According to the research of Dr. Nikola Živković, among the 32,000 detainees, who survived to witness the liberation of "Dachau" were about 3,000 Serbs, while nearly 600 of them lost their lives in the camp.
They were killed, as were other Dachau detainees, in numerous, extremely cruel ways:
sadistic beatings to death,
by starvation
leaving it to starving dogs,
by shootings in the back of the head for the entertainment of camp guards and officials,
by suffocation in gas chambers,
By hanging
by performing medical and other experiments.
About 3,000 priests of various nations and religions passed through the Dachau concentration camp, while the liberation was welcomed by only 1,354 priests.
About 1,600 priests through the camp crematorium turned to ashes, with which the notorious German Nazis sprinkled camp fields and gardens to make crops "succeed better ".
 Serbs were among the imprisoned inhabitants of this notorious casemate, and among them were also priests who survived that hell:
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Gavrilo Dožić
His Eminence Bishop Nikolaj of Žiča
Branko Djordjević, a senior official of the Patriarchate
Petar Žiravac, religious teacher (Žička diocese)
Đorđe Jovanović, parish priest (Zvornik-Tuzla diocese)
Stojan Stojanović, parish priest (Banat diocese)
Veljko Babić, the parish priest (Banja Luka diocese)
Strahinja Svitlić, the parish priest (Zvornik-Tuzla diocese)
Milutin Stojanović, the parish priest (Archbishopric of Belgrade and Karlovac)
Miodrag Stanojlović, the parish priest (Sabac Diocese)
Milan Kiždobranski, zhe parish priest (Bačka diocese)
Stefan Maletić, hieromonk, the elder of the monastery (Šabacdiocese)
Stefan Stakić, a hierodeacon (Diocese of Bačka)
         His Holiness Gavrilo Dožić, Serbian Patriarch 
Although this was a very small group of  Serbian Orthodox Church priests, they were the most important representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church. They were also represented by young and old priests, from a newly graduated theologian, deacon and hieromonk, to the supreme head of the Church himself.
There were married and family people in it and those who took a vow of celibacy. Some of the detainees were active members of certain political parties in the Kingdom Yugoslavia, and even MPs, while others were politically uninvolved.
During the occupation, one part was linked to the partisan movement and the other to the Chetnik movement of Draža Mihailović, while for the third it couldn’t be established who they were for.
Both by the origin and by places of service, there were people from almost all parts of Yugoslavia in which Serbs lived, i.e. members of the Serbian Orthodox Church - from Belgrade and Novi Sad, through Banja Luka, Tuzla, etc. to Morača in Montenegro and even the United States.
 Among the victims of this camp were also:
Mihajlo Nedeljković, General of the Army of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (did not survive Dachau)
Vladeta Popović, professor at the University of Belgrade
Tripko Zugic, a lawyer, who was also the assistant minister of internal affairs
Radovan Sumenković, diplomat and consul general in Prague
Vlastimir Pavlović Carevac, violinist
Nenad Jovanović, journalist and translator
Simo Čučković, Spanish fighter ...
Stevo Zigon, an actor, spent 2 years 
Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović spent two months with the camp commander Johan Adler in a boarding school in Bern, Switzerland in 1908, in the same room.
At that time, Adler was preparing a doctorate in history, and Bishop Nikolaj in theology. The theme for the Doctorate of Bishop Nikolaj was faith in Christ's resurrection as the basic dogma of the apostles’ church, and Adler’s- St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan monastic order.
In the notorious Dachau concentration camp, Adler forced the investigation and interrogation of Bishop Nikolaj and Patriarch Gabriel before the SS and interrogated them for seven consecutive days, to buy time and save their lives.
In the end, he declared that they had no guilt because he was aware that Hitler was leading the Germans to the abyss.
When the detainees set off from their barracks to the place where the morning line-up used to take place, in the early morning of April 28, 1945, they were surprised to see that the SS hung a white flag on one of the surveillance towers, which meant surrender. Most of the guards had already escaped by that moment.
The remaining guards tried to continue to control the detainees with a machine gun. Rumors began to spread around the camp fast. A day later, allied  U.S. and British soldiers who started their victorious campaign in June 1944 in Normandy, arrived in Dachau.
During the liberation of the camp, Allied soldiers found 39 wagons near the camp, and most were filled with human bodies.
Because of that, they lined up 50 German soldiers who were found in the camp and shot them, and that act is considered as revenge for Dachau.
"Do not take captives!" shouted the soldiers when they saw the horrible sight and tortured inmates. It was the second to last Nazi concentration camp that was liberated by victorious Allied units at the end of World War II.
Because the allied forces from the west (USA, Great Britain, France ...) and from the east (Soviet Union) occupied Germany,  divided it into zones of responsibility, and organized trials of Nazi criminals known as the Nuremberg trials, in which hundreds of them were sentenced to death for atrocities committed against innocent people.
However, a good number of the Nazi villain left Europe with fake documents through the special operation Ratlines, which took place in the greatest discretion during 1945-1948 with the help of the Vatican,  and fled mostly to South America, Australia, etc.
A memorial complex, which now stands on the site of the former German camp in Dachau testifies to the horrors that the Nazis carried out on "unsuitable" people.
Priests and bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church occasionally go to this place where they serve a memorial service for the Serbs who left their bones far from their homeland.
Considering the size and number of victims, a lot of literature has been written about this camp, especially in foreign languages. Bishop Nikolaj described his camp days in the book "Through the Dungeon Window."
In August 2017, the documentary channel KOKS recorded one short documentary, a film about the Dachau camp.


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